The ancient mythical division of the stages in a woman’s life has been seen as maiden, mother and crone. These stages are centered on one event, menarche. This is the point in a girls’ life when she has her first menstrual cycle. As a woman ages her menstrual cycle changes and eventually completes the last cycle as a woman enters the crone stage.
Along the journey through the health landscape of life a woman’s needs differ, this article will briefly review the stages of our changing needs.
Innocence, childish wonder and springtime personify this time in a girls’ life. At this stage of life there is much to learn and the growing is just beginning. Nutrient needs for her vary slightly; adequate amounts of all nutrients are important, pay special attention to: protein, zinc, iron, vitamin D and calcium as they are important to nourish the growing body. (1) In order to make sure the little maiden in your life is getting enough out of her diet look at the recommended dietary allowances and adequate intake for vitamins and minerals.
This stage is marked by surrender and compassion, so much of this stage is trying to strike a balance between fulfilling obligations and having enough time to nurture our health. Eating during this time is meant to maintain good health and set the stage for the future. Look at the big picture here, limit processed food and keep the focus on the whole food groups. Vegetables and fruit provide a source of vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber. Whole grains, plant based protein and meat offers a wide array of protein, B vitamins and minerals. Essential fatty acids from nuts and other mono or poly unsaturated oils are a great option. Diary foods provide calcium, essential fatty acids, protein and vitamin A. Menses, pregnancy, breast feeding all alter a woman’s nutritional needs. Pay close attention to iron, B12, B6, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and fiber. (1)
During Neolithic times woman at this stage were the matriarchs. This is the mastery stage of life where the wisdom of the years is shared. Although, increases in abdominal fat, risk of heart disease, decrease in bone mass and extreme hormonal changes can make this stage of life seem so much less than wise! Nutritionally, ensure you get adequate plant based foods, fiber, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K. (1) Keep the focus here on meeting but not exceeding nutritional needs to maintain a healthy weight, stay active and seek the guidance of health professionals to customize advise to your specific needs.
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.